Ultramarathon Daily News | Wed, Sep 16

Video: More on Jim Walmsley’s solo Hardrock FKT attempt.

TrailSisters/Grossman: Female veterans finding a place in the trail running community. I attended a Team RWB camp a few years ago and was able to see first hand how positive an influence our sport has on this important segment of our population. It’s awesome to see Katie continue to highlight the programs and people involved.

Run Spirited: Henry chats with Chris DeNucci to learn what he’s been up to as a Physician and runner during Covid.

How La Rona is forcing collegiate track and XC teams to rethink everything.

SCMP: The wild and scary sport of ultramarathon, trans-Pacific rowing.

It was kind of funny — the last quarter of the race, people — I think — thought I’d finished and had come back to jog in with a friend, but I was still out there on the course.

—More from Ryan Hall’s first ultramarathon.

CNN: Patagonia continues its advocacy for climate awareness by stitching messages into their new shorts. Cool, but how about coming down to a price point us mortals can afford?

Can you run a 5:30 mile? How about backwards?

After a rest day and a bunch of checks, Le Tour is back on schedule.

Quick commentary:

A few weeks ago, I got an email from a guy named Ben Chan. In his email, he described a situation in which he, along with his friend/teammates applied to run one of Laz’s races. He wrote that the team chose the name “Black Lives Matter” and that Laz had asked them to choose a different name because he didn’t want any controversy. Apparently he used the example that he wouldn’t allow a “MAGA” team either. That story is here.

In his email to me, Ben asked to come on URP to discuss inclusion in general and his issue in particular. I looked him up, checked out his Instagram, and saw that it was 90% social, racial, and political issues with very few running posts. I also noticed that he’d shared personal emails on his public feed, so decided to pass on his request. (As a note, I’ve also learned over the last decade of doing this that the best guests are ones who are found, not those who pitch themselves. I decline 99% of requests who ask to be on the show.)

So last week, I heard from a friend that Ben was disappointed that few people had responded to him, so I shot him a quick email. This isn’t the hundreds of emails I’ve sent out before when there’s a request to be unlike the ultrarunnerpodcast.

Hi Ben-
Thanks for writing. I understand your frustration, but side with Laz on this one in keeping political and controversial social topics out of sports.
Good luck in your next race,
Eric

That’s the entirety of my communication with him. That’s it. Nothing more.

Anyone who’s followed my site for any length of time–as he purportedly has–knows that I rarely talk about politics or big controversial social issues that don’t relate directly to running. (I suppose beer, dogs, and cannabis would be exceptions if we’re getting nitpicky, but whatever.)

But to be clear, I have discussed racial and gender equity in our sport in the past. I’ve been exploring those issues well before #metoo and #BLM, thankyouverymuch, but with fires, riots and school closures and political protests and fu*king Covid and environmental chaos all over the news right now, I’d rather talk about something else and provide a respite that so many of you seem to appreciate. Ben refers to it as “white runners are seeking refuge from scary Black words and phrases”, but I see it as trying to maintain balance and stay sane during this crazy year.

It’s also apparently a minor point to some, but…it’s my show. I choose the guests and get to decide which issues will be discussed. As the largest and longest running MUT podcast in the world, I tend to trust my judgment and based on the personal emails I’ve received recently (thank you!), you’d rather stick to running too.

But instead, Ben took to Instagram yesterday to share my short email and painted me as a racist. Of course, his followers piled on and spun it out of control. Again, I’m called a racist because I don’t want to have a guy on my running podcast to talk about racial issues again. The pure narcissism of it all is appalling.

Update: It looks like dozens of replies/comments to his post have been deleted or removed. I don’t use IG enough to know what happened. Anyone?

There was plenty of performative outrage and promises to unsubscribe and not listen any more, and that’s fine. Do what you’re gonna do. If you’re looking for more political, social, and racial justice discussions, there are myriad podcasts and other media sources available with excellent content. I believe he even linked to a few running podcasts on which he was a guest. For me though, I’ll be sticking to running news and I hope you’ll join me.

Sorry to make this such a big deal, but I’m getting really really tired of this and wanted to give you all the entire picture in case you saw a mention.

Enjoy the rest of your week and be good,

–Eric

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